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System for and method of securing a network utilizing credentials

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US9584480B2
US9584480B2 US14872606 US201514872606A US9584480B2 US 9584480 B2 US9584480 B2 US 9584480B2 US 14872606 US14872606 US 14872606 US 201514872606 A US201514872606 A US 201514872606A US 9584480 B2 US9584480 B2 US 9584480B2
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device
packet
computing
credentials
protocol
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US20160028691A1 (en )
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Robert O. Keith, Jr.
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Microsoft Technology Licensing LLC
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Microsoft Technology Licensing LLC
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    • HELECTRICITY
    • H04ELECTRIC COMMUNICATION TECHNIQUE
    • H04LTRANSMISSION OF DIGITAL INFORMATION, e.g. TELEGRAPHIC COMMUNICATION
    • H04L63/00Network architectures or network communication protocols for network security
    • H04L63/02Network architectures or network communication protocols for network security for separating internal from external traffic, e.g. firewalls
    • H04L63/0227Filtering policies
    • H04L63/0254Stateful filtering
    • HELECTRICITY
    • H04ELECTRIC COMMUNICATION TECHNIQUE
    • H04LTRANSMISSION OF DIGITAL INFORMATION, e.g. TELEGRAPHIC COMMUNICATION
    • H04L47/00Traffic regulation in packet switching networks
    • H04L47/10Flow control or congestion control
    • H04L47/27Window size evaluation or update, e.g. using information derived from ACK packets
    • HELECTRICITY
    • H04ELECTRIC COMMUNICATION TECHNIQUE
    • H04LTRANSMISSION OF DIGITAL INFORMATION, e.g. TELEGRAPHIC COMMUNICATION
    • H04L61/00Network arrangements or network protocols for addressing or naming
    • H04L61/60Details
    • H04L61/6018Address types
    • H04L61/6063Transport layer addresses, e.g. aspects of transmission control protocol [TCP] or user datagram protocol [UDP] ports
    • HELECTRICITY
    • H04ELECTRIC COMMUNICATION TECHNIQUE
    • H04LTRANSMISSION OF DIGITAL INFORMATION, e.g. TELEGRAPHIC COMMUNICATION
    • H04L63/00Network architectures or network communication protocols for network security
    • H04L63/08Network architectures or network communication protocols for network security for supporting authentication of entities communicating through a packet data network
    • HELECTRICITY
    • H04ELECTRIC COMMUNICATION TECHNIQUE
    • H04LTRANSMISSION OF DIGITAL INFORMATION, e.g. TELEGRAPHIC COMMUNICATION
    • H04L63/00Network architectures or network communication protocols for network security
    • H04L63/10Network architectures or network communication protocols for network security for controlling access to network resources
    • HELECTRICITY
    • H04ELECTRIC COMMUNICATION TECHNIQUE
    • H04LTRANSMISSION OF DIGITAL INFORMATION, e.g. TELEGRAPHIC COMMUNICATION
    • H04L63/00Network architectures or network communication protocols for network security
    • H04L63/14Network architectures or network communication protocols for network security for detecting or protecting against malicious traffic
    • H04L63/1441Countermeasures against malicious traffic
    • H04L63/1466Active attacks involving interception, injection, modification, spoofing of data unit addresses, e.g. hijacking, packet injection or TCP sequence number attacks
    • HELECTRICITY
    • H04ELECTRIC COMMUNICATION TECHNIQUE
    • H04LTRANSMISSION OF DIGITAL INFORMATION, e.g. TELEGRAPHIC COMMUNICATION
    • H04L63/00Network architectures or network communication protocols for network security
    • H04L63/14Network architectures or network communication protocols for network security for detecting or protecting against malicious traffic
    • H04L63/1441Countermeasures against malicious traffic

Abstract

A system for and method of securing a network are described herein. A receiving device listens for packets with proper credentials. If a transmitting device sends the correct credentials, the receiving device will respond with an acknowledgment and further data is able to be transmitted. However, if the transmitting device does not send a packet with the proper credentials, then the receiving device will drop the packet and not respond. Thus, the transmitting device will be unaware of the presence of the receiving device, in particular when hackers are using scanning software to locate target devices.

Description

CROSS-REFERENCE TO RELATED APPLICATIONS

This application is a continuation of U.S. patent application Ser. No. 14/306,044, filed on Jun. 16, 2014, entitled “SYSTEM FOR AND METHOD OF SECURING A NETWORK UTILIZING CREDENTIALS,” which issued as U.S. Pat. No. 9,160,735 on Oct. 13, 2015, which is a continuation of U.S. patent application Ser. No. 11/440,564, filed on May 24, 2006, entitled “SYSTEM FOR AND METHOD OF SECURING A NETWORK UTILIZING CREDENTIALS,” which issued as U.S. Pat. No. 8,811,396 on Aug. 19, 2014, the entirety of each of which are incorporated herein by reference.

FIELD OF THE INVENTION

The present invention relates to the field of networking. More specifically, the present invention relates to the field of providing security to a network.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

Transmission Control Protocol (TCP) allows applications on networked computers to generate connections to each other. Over these connections, the applications are then able to exchange data packets. Many applications such as the world wide web and email utilize TCP. TCP is reliable and guarantees in-order delivery of data.

Applications send streams of 8-bit bytes to TCP to be delivered through the network. TCP divides the byte stream into appropriately sized segments and then passes the resulting packets to the Internet Protocol (IP) for delivery through the network to a TCP module of a target computer on the network. TCP ensures that no packets are lost by assigning a sequence number to each packet. This sequence number also ensures the packets are delivered in the correct order. The TCP module of the target computer sends back an acknowledgment for packets which have been successfully received. If an acknowledgment is not received within a reasonable amount of time, a timeout is triggered on the transmitting computer. Then, the data packet is re-sent.

As briefly described above, a 3-way handshake is implemented to establish a TCP connection. The transmitting computer first sends a synchronization packet to initiate the connection. Then the target computer sends an acknowledgment packet back. Finally, the transmitting computer sends an acknowledgment back to the target. By utilizing a 3-way handshake, computers are able to verify their connection.

The concern with TCP is that hackers are able to utilize this 3-way handshake to locate future victims to be hacked. Using scanning software, a set of packets are sent out across the network. Any clients on the network will respond to these packets. Then, hackers are able to determine which computers are accessible on the network and which ports are open on those computers. Using that information, a hacker is able to abuse the computer by crashing it or performing other malicious activity with it such as stealing data.

User Datagram Protocol (UDP) is a connectionless protocol that allows applications on networked computers to send short messages known as datagrams to each other. Unlike TCP, UDP does not provide guaranteed reliability. Datagrams are able to arrive disordered or get lost without notice. The reason for this is that UDP does not utilize the 3-way handshake of TCP where a target computer acknowledges that it is present when an unknown transmitting computer sends an initiating connection. However, as mentioned above, UDP has a number of drawbacks including being unreliable, not ordered, and other issues that make UDP insufficient for a specified purpose.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

A system for and method of securing a network are described herein. A receiving device listens for packets with proper credentials. If a transmitting device sends the correct credentials, the receiving device will respond with an acknowledgment and further data is able to be transmitted. However, if the transmitting device does not send a packet with the proper credentials, then the receiving device will drop the packet and not respond. Thus, the transmitting device will be unaware of the presence of the receiving device, in particular when hackers are using scanning software to locate target devices.

In one aspect, a method of increasing network security comprises transmitting a packet from a first device to a second device, receiving a packet at the second device from the first device, verifying the packet for proper credentials and sending an acknowledgment from the second device to the first device only if the proper credentials are verified. The first device is a client and the second device is a server. Alternatively, the first device is a server and the second device is a client. The method further comprises dropping the packet if the proper credentials are not verified. A protocol for receiving the packet is similar to or the same as User Datagram Protocol. A protocol for sending an acknowledgment is similar to or the same as Transmission Control Protocol. The first device and the second device are coupled by a network. In one embodiment, the network is the Internet. In another embodiment, the network is an intranet.

In another aspect, a method of increasing network security comprises transmitting a packet from a first device to a second device, receiving a packet at the second device from the first device, verifying the packet for proper credentials, sending an acknowledgment from the second device to the first device only if the proper credentials are verified and dropping the packet if the proper credentials are not verified. The first device is a client and the second device is a server. Alternatively, the first device is a server and the second device is a client. A protocol for receiving the packet is similar to or the same as User Datagram Protocol. A protocol for sending an acknowledgment is similar to or the same as Transmission Control Protocol. The first device and the second device are coupled by a network. In one embodiment, the network is the Internet. In another embodiment, the network is an intranet.

In yet another aspect, a system for increasing network security comprises one or more first devices for transmitting a packet, one or more second devices for receiving the packet, wherein the one or more second devices are coupled to the one or more first devices through a network and a set of credentials within the packet for verification, wherein the one or more second devices send an acknowledgment back to the one or more first devices only if the set of credentials are verified. The first device is a client and the second device is a server. Alternatively, the first device is a server and the second device is a client. The one or more second devices drop the packet if the set of credentials are not verified. A protocol for receiving the packet is similar to or the same as User Datagram Protocol. A protocol for sending an acknowledgment is similar to or the same as Transmission Control Protocol. In one embodiment, the network is the Internet. In another embodiment, the network is an intranet.

In another aspect, a network of devices for increasing network security comprises one or more client devices for transmitting a packet, one or more server devices for receiving the packet, wherein the one or more server devices are coupled to the one or more client devices through a network and a set of credentials within the packet for verification, wherein the one or more server devices send an acknowledgment back to the one or more client devices only if the set of credentials are verified. The one or more server devices drop the packet if the set of credentials are not verified. A protocol for receiving the packet is similar to or the same as User Datagram Protocol. A protocol for sending an acknowledgment is similar to or the same as Transmission Control Protocol. In one embodiment, the network is the Internet. In another embodiment, the network is an intranet.

In yet another aspect, a packet for increasing network security comprises data and a set of credentials, wherein the set of credentials are analyzed by a receiving device such that the receiving device sends an acknowledgment back only if the set of credentials are valid. The set of credentials are selected from the group consisting of a key, a code and a signature. The set of credentials are stored within a header. Alternatively, the set of credentials are stored within a wrapper. The set of credentials are encrypted. The packet is substantially similar to a User Datagram Protocol packet.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

FIG. 1 illustrates a block diagram of the preferred embodiment of the present invention.

FIG. 2 illustrates a flow chart of the preferred embodiment of the present invention.

FIG. 3 illustrates a network of devices implementing the preferred embodiment of the present invention.

FIG. 4A illustrates a User Datagram Protocol packet.

FIG. 4B illustrates a User Datagram Protocol packet within a wrapper.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENT

The present invention overcomes the issues described above by using a combination of elements of User Datagram Protocol (UDP) and Transmission Control Protocol (TCP) in addition to modifications of each. Using these modifications, a connection is established by only those properly authenticated devices. Furthermore, a target device remains hidden and anonymous to those devices that are not properly authenticated.

FIG. 1 illustrates a block diagram of the preferred embodiment of the present invention. A system 100 for securely networking devices includes one or more first devices 102 and one or more second devices 104. A device of the one or more first devices 102 sends a packet 106 with credentials to a device of the one or more second devices 104 over a network 108. The packet is sent using a protocol 110 such as UDP or a similar protocol. The device of the one or more second devices 104 is listening to the specified protocol. If a packet 106′ does not have the correct credentials then the packet 106′ is dropped and no response is sent from the device of the one or more second devices 104. If the credentials are validly verified, then an acknowledgment 114 is sent from the device of the one or more second devices 104 over the network 108 to the device of the one or more first devices 102. The acknowledgment 114 is sent over a protocol 112 such as TCP, UDP or a similar protocol. After the initial connection is established, data is communicated between the devices.

FIG. 2 illustrates a flow chart of the preferred embodiment of the present invention. In the step 200, a device of the one or more first devices 102 transmits a packet 106 to a device of the one or more second devices 104. In the step 202, the device of the one or more second devices 104 receives the packet 106. In the step 204, the device 106 of the one or more second devices 104 determines if the packet 106 has the proper credentials. Proper credentials are able to be included as a specific key, code, signature or other appropriate verification device. Furthermore, the credentials are stored in a header, wrapper or other location to accompany the packet. In some embodiments, the set of credentials are encrypted. If the packet 106 does not have the proper credentials, the packet 106 is dropped and no acknowledgment is sent back to the device of the one or more first devices 102, in the step 206. If the packet 106 does have the proper credentials, then an acknowledgment 114 is sent back to the device of the one or more first devices 102, in the step 208. By utilizing an implementation such as this, hackers' net scans will produce no results, as the devices will not respond, thus giving no indication that the device is even there.

FIG. 3 illustrates a network of devices implementing the present invention. One or more client devices 300 are coupled to a server 310 through a network 308. The one or more client devices 300 initiate communication with the server 310 by sending a packet 304 with credentials. The server validates the credentials and then responds by sending an acknowledgment 306 back to the appropriate client device 300. If a hacker 302 attempts to communicate with the server 310 by sending a packet 304′ with either the incorrect credentials or no credentials, the server receives the packet 304′ but then drops the packet 304′. The server does not respond to the hacker 302. Thus, only properly authenticated clients 300 with correct credentials are able to communicate with the server 310 and hackers 302 are not. In an alternate embodiment, a server sends the packet with credentials to a client device.

FIG. 4A illustrates a UDP packet 400. Within a header 402 of the UDP packet 400 are four 16 bit fields including a source port, destination port, length and checksum. A data portion 404 of the packet contains the data to be transmitted.

FIG. 4B illustrates the UDP packet within a wrapper 410. The wrapper 410 is formatted appropriately to contain the necessary components including any additional credentials such as a signature, a key or a code. Furthermore, the wrapper 410 is able to have a wrapper header 412 where the credentials are able to be stored. The credentials necessary to verify a valid incoming packet are located within the wrapper header 412 in some embodiments or within the wrapper 410 elsewhere in other embodiments.

To utilize the present invention a network of devices is configured so that only properly authenticated devices are able to communicate with devices on the network. A transmitting device sends a packet with credentials to a receiving device. If the credentials are valid, the receiving device responds with an acknowledgment similar to that in TCP so that other communications are possible. If the credentials are not valid or if a packet does not have credentials, then the packet is dropped. This aspect is similar to UDP and unlike TCP which always responds with an acknowledgment. By only responding to authorized users, the system is able to remain undetected by unauthorized users such as hackers. After a connection is established, the devices communicate as typical network devices do, allowing the transfer of data from device to device over and through networks.

In operation the present invention performs very similarly to standard networks that implement TCP with the exception that unauthorized packets are dropped. For authorized users, standard operations are available with the network such that users of an intranet are able to print to network printers, share data across computers and access applications from servers. In some embodiments, the network is the Internet. Many other typical network operations are possible with the present invention aside from those that require access to a device without valid credentials.

The devices that are able to implement the present invention include, but are not limited to laptops, personal computers, Apple computers, handhelds, servers, thin clients and cell phones.

The present invention has been described in terms of specific embodiments incorporating details to facilitate the understanding of principles of construction and operation of the invention. Such reference herein to specific embodiments and details thereof is not intended to limit the scope of the claims appended hereto. It will be readily apparent to one skilled in the art that other various modifications may be made in the embodiment chosen for illustration without departing from the spirit and scope of the invention as defined by the claims.

Claims (20)

What is claimed is:
1. A computing device for increasing network security, the computing device comprising:
one or more processors; and
one or more computer-readable media having stored thereon computer-executable instructions that are executable by the one or more processors to configure the computing device to perform at least the following:
receive an initial packet from an other computing device;
verify the initial packet for a proper credential;
when the proper credential is not verified, drop the initial packet; and
when the proper credential is verified:
send an acknowledgment to the other computing device only; and
receive one or more subsequent packets from the other computing device without verifying that the subsequent packets have a proper credential,
wherein the verification of the initial packet is performed independent of whether a device identifier or a user identifier of the other computing device is recognized by the computing device.
2. The computing device of claim 1, wherein the computing device is a client and the other computing device is a server.
3. The computing device of claim 1, wherein the computing device is a server and the other device is a client.
4. The computing device of claim 1, wherein the proper credential is included in a wrapper around the initial packet.
5. The computing device of claim 4, wherein the proper credential is included in a header of the wrapper.
6. The computing device of claim 1, wherein a protocol for receiving the initial packet is User Datagram Protocol or any functionally equivalent protocol.
7. The computing device of claim 1, wherein a protocol for sending the acknowledgment is Transmission Control Protocol or any functionally equivalent protocol.
8. The computing device of claim 1, wherein the computing device and the other computing device are coupled by the Internet.
9. The computing device of claim 1, wherein the computing device and the other computing device are coupled by an intranet.
10. A computing device for increasing network security, the computing device comprising:
one or more processors; and
one or more computer-readable media having stored thereon computer-executable instructions that are executable by the one or more processors to configure the computing device to perform at least the following:
transmit an initial packet to an other computing device, the initial packet including a credential;
receive an acknowledgment from the other computing device only when the other computing device has verified the initial packet for a proper credential, verification of the initial packet being performed by the other computing device independent of whether a device identifier or a user identifier of the computing device is recognized by the other computing device; and
based on receiving the acknowledgment from the other computing device, transmit one or more subsequent packets to the other computing device without verifying whether the one or more subsequent packets include a proper credential.
11. The computing device of claim 10, wherein the computing device is a client and the other computing device is a server.
12. The computing device of claim 10, wherein the computing device is a server and the other computing device is a client.
13. The computing device of claim 10, wherein a protocol for receiving the initial packet is User Datagram Protocol or any functionally equivalent protocol.
14. The computing device of claim 10, wherein a protocol for sending the acknowledgment is Transmission Control Protocol or any functionally equivalent protocol.
15. The computing device of claim 10, wherein the computing device and the other computing device are coupled by the Internet.
16. The computing device of claim 10, wherein the computing device and the other computing device are coupled by an intranet.
17. The computing device of claim 10, wherein the credential is included in a wrapper around the initial packet.
18. A method, implemented at a computing device that includes one or more processors, for increasing network security, the method comprising:
receiving an initial packet from an other computing device;
verifying the initial packet for a proper credential;
when the proper credential is not verified, dropping the initial packet; and
when the proper credential is verified:
sending an acknowledgment to the other computing device only; and
receiving one or more subsequent packets from the other computing device without verifying that the subsequent packets have a proper credential,
wherein the verification of the initial packet is performed independent of whether a device identifier or a user identifier of the other computing device is recognized by the computing device.
19. The method of claim 18, wherein a protocol for receiving the initial packet is User Datagram Protocol or any functionally equivalent protocol.
20. The method of claim 18, wherein a protocol for sending the acknowledgment is Transmission Control Protocol or any functionally equivalent protocol.
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